Since being back in Korea (just over a month now), I've watched some nice films and series.
A film with absolutely excellent acting. You need not be a fan of boxing to enjoy this based-on-true-events drama, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. I'm not really familiar with director David O. Russell's other work, except for the war drama Three Kings (1999) also starring Wahlberg. The Fighter has some of the best performances you'll see in a long time. Don't miss it.
It is seldom that I watch a romantic film that affects me as this action-romance did. The Adjustment Bureau stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and their characters have to fight fate and providence to ensure their love for each other. The film touched me on two levels. Firstly, this is the type of story I wish I had written because it is a topic -- "free will" -- that I am so passionate about. It's a great story that considers a big philosophical / theological issue. (Read Greg Boyd's discussion of the issue in this film here.) Secondly, I completely fell in love with Emily Blunt's character. This has happened only once before where I could feel myself falling in love with leading actress in a film. The other time was with Claire Forlani in Boys and Girls (2000). Judging from these two characters, I can clearly see a pattern to what personality type would make me fall head-over-heels in love.
Okay, technically I saw this while still in South Africa, but I thought it deserves mentioning as it is one of the best cinematographically appealing films I have seen in a very long time. A psychological drama that will definitely be enjoyed by any one that enjoys this genre, and anyone with a love for fine cinema. Director Darren Aronofsky also directed two of my other favourite films: Requiem for a Dream (2000) and The Wrestler (2008). Natalie Portman does an excellent job.
I saw this on the plane on my way back to Korea. Tangled is Disney's version of the Rapunzel fairy tale. Not the best Disney film ever, but not bad.
The Way Back is very loosely based on possible events. This is very unfortunate, for if it was firmly based on actual events it would have been one of the most inspiring films I have ever seen. Peter Weir, the director, is known for such films as Dead Poet's Society (1989), Green Card (1990), and The Truman Show (1998).
I heard it compared to the Twilight series, but this is a ridiculous comparison. I Am Number Four does not piggyback on a vampire or other Gothic premise (and perverts the whole genre in the process as the Twilight series does). Instead it is a sci-fi in the likes of X-Men or Superman. Yes, the chief audience probably still teenagers; nevertheless, I found it to be a quite enjoyable film with enough action and well crafted special effects to make up for the teen-romance and new-kid-in-school stereotypes.
I watched this Chinese war drama on DVD in two sittings last night and the night before. It is the story of Mulan, the woman who pretended to be a man so that she could enlist in the army in the place of her ailing father, and then continues to become one of China's legendary warriors. Generally a good story.
I started watching this Korean series set in the Joseon Dynasty (I think) about the slave trade and star-crossed lovers last year, but only finished it recently. Apart from its (stereo-) typical overflow of "han", the Korean emotion of despair, I enjoyed Chuno for it's moments of martial art scenes and interesting cultural exposure of the time. Unfortunately, like most Korean action-dramas, the "han" gets too much for me. There is not a single episode in which a number of characters are not crying. It becomes to irritating to bear at times.
BBC's Merlin series is getting better with each season. There is something quirky about the series, in an almost Doctor Who silliness. Season three ended quite suspenseful. I'm rather looking forward to season four.